infants and toddlers have special oral health needs

including protecting them from baby bottle decay and making sure they get fluoride

What is Baby Bottle Decay?

How Can I Prevent It?

Baby bottle decay is caused by liquids containing sugars, including milk, formula, and fruit juices. These sugary liquids pool around the teeth while your baby sleeps with the bottle. This causes cavities to develop in the upper and lower front teeth.

Instead, give your child a bottle filled with water. If you breast-feed, don’t let the baby nurse continuously. And after each feeding, wipe your baby’s teeth and gums with a clean, damp washcloth or a gauze pad.

What is Fluoride and How Do I Know if My Baby is Getting the Right Amount?

Fluoride is beneficial even before your child’s teeth begin to show. It strengthens the tooth enamel as the teeth are forming. In some cities, like Grand Rapids, the right amount of fluoride is added to the water for proper tooth development. You can call your local water company to find out if fluoride is added to your water. If not, ask your pediatrician or dentist about fluoride drops that can be given to your baby daily. If you use bottled water for drinking and cooking, be sure to tell your doctor or dentist. They may prescribe fluoride supplements for the baby.

Teach your child how to brush and floss.